Your House is on Fire

Rather than blather, or riff if you prefer, on our very pleasant times, I offer a short story.

“Sam*, your house is on fire!”

This was obvious by the flames rolling out and around the windows, and through the roof. I expected to see hoses and fire trucks and those for whom such an event was made. Instead, I found Sam and his family standing in the street, staring at the inferno burning down their house.

“Shouldn’t we call the fire Department?” I was concerned.

“No, we’ve decided to burn it down and start over,” Sam said.

“Why? I thought it was a nice house: plenty of space, a place where you could speak your mind, have a say…”

Sam poo-poo me. “That’s all old hash. Nobody wants that anymore. People want their own thing in their own way.”

“Doesn’t sound very community oriented if you ask me,” I said.

“Community oriented? What century are you living in, man? That didn’t work, so instead everyone gets their own defined space with soundproof walls so they aren’t exposed to people expressing views or opinions or, God forbid, facts they don’t agree with.”

“Yeah,” his daughter said, “no more of that crazy misogynistic fascist crap from my idiot brother.”

“Yeah, and no more of that man-hating cancel-culture crap from the commie wacko!” her brother yelled back.

“See what I have to put up with?” Sam complained. “I mean I can’t even enjoy a football game anymore.”

“And the answer is burning down the house?” They all nodded. “Wouldn’t it be better to listen to what each of you has to say, to work together towards the common goals you share?”

“It’s my way or the highway,” they said in unison.

“Well, if nothing else, you agree on that.”

We turned back to the raging fire before us. If you like infernos, it was quite nice. Some of the neighbor kids were roasting marshmallows.

“So how’s it supposed to work in the future, after the house is reduced to ash?” I was curious.

“What do you mean?” Sam asked.

“Well, if you can’t stand each other, how can you possibly agree on what to build to replace what you’ve burned down?” They all stared at me as if I’d lost my mind. “I mean have you given any thought to how you’ll rebuild your house so it can accommodate the whole family?” Again, curious.

“You mean everyone?”

“Yes,” I said. “And where will you live while you’re rebuilding?”

“We’ve got a tent trailer,” Sam replied. “It’s in the garage.”

“The garage is on fire, Sam.”

He looked just in time to see the roof collapse. “Something will present itself.”

“Uh-huh.” It was at that moment, when I felt a tug on my arm. I turned to find a guy with a big smile on his face. “Who are you?”

“I’m here to provide a wide array of options to the family, to help them rebuild their house; not only to its previous splendor, but even better. With new technology and financing, sparkly gadgets; individual plans for every member of the family, whatever their personal or political persuasions, so everyone will get exactly what they desire. That includes free delivery.” He was quite excited.

“Let me guess, your the market, right?”

“Yep.”

“Aren’t you responsible for this in the first place?”

Grinning, he said, “Creative destruction is what we do best. Line forms over there.” He pointed to a gaggle of people standing around.

Well thank God there’s a place to wait for the end.

*The names are made up. I’m doing this just for fun.

©2021 David William Pearce

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